21 unmissable Gloucestershire festivals

A clear contender for festival county of the UK, Gloucestershire boasts an enviable collection of annual events – from world-class literary happenings to the biggest music celebrations – with SoGlos handpicking 21 of the most unmissable in 2023.

By Zoe Gater  |  Published
Discover SoGlos’s pick of fantastic festivals in Gloucestershire this 2023.

Hosting an enormous line-up of annual events every year, Gloucestershire is gleaming with fun festivals in 2023 – whether you are looking for a daytrip with the family or a long weekend dancing the night away.

From famous literary celebrations and the world-renowned opera programmes to Big Feastival in the Cotswolds, SoGlos rounds up 21 Gloucestershire festivals you won’t want to miss in 2023.

Big Feastival

With music sensations Sigrid, Tom Grennan and Blossoms headlining this year’s event, Big Feastival takes place from Friday 25 to Sunday 27 August 2023 at Blur bassist Alex James’s Cotswold farm.

Blending the very best in food and music, festivalgoers can enjoy family fun and entertainment, alfresco dining, top chefs, cooking demonstrations and a sensational set of live music.

Tewkesbury Medieval Festival

Widely regarded as the biggest free medieval festival in Europe, Tewkesbury Medieval Festival attracts history lovers from far and wide, with some even travelling from France and Poland to visit the famous site.

From Saturday 8 until Sunday 9 July 2023, visitors can witness over 2,000 actors bring the medieval era back to life – from cooking over open fires to re-enacting the battle of Tewkesbury. Children’s entertainment will also be on offer with stilt walkers, jugglers and friendly dragons all visiting the festival this year.

Longborough Festival Opera

Packed with world-class theatrical drama and orchestral music, Longborough Festival Opera is one of the county's most unique cultural events in the Cotswold calendar. 

Running from Monday 29 May until Thursday 3 August 2023, festivalgoers can grab a picnic and revel in the sun overlooking the Evenlode valley, alongside champagne, wine and Pimms, as well as indulge in a jam-packed programme — all in a stunning Cotswold setting.  

RHS Malvern Spring Festival

The premier gardening and food event that has something for everyone to enjoy, RHS Malvern Spring Festival will be showcasing live entertainment and the very best of lifestyle, garden and homeware shopping during the summer. 

From Thursday 11 to Sunday 14 May 2023, visitors will hear from special guests sharing their gardening know-how in the festival theatre; take a look at impressive show gardens; gain inspiration from specialist nurseries and growers; and much more. 

Cheltenham Jazz Festival

Returning to Cheltenham for its 26th anniversary, Cheltenham Jazz Festival is bringing its best ever line-up to the town in 2023, including rock royalty, pop chart toppers and jazz legends.

Taking place from Wednesday 26 April until Monday 1 May 2023, the highly anticipated event features large scale performances at Henry Westons Big Top, alongside intimate club nights, family friendly entertainment and an eclectic Around Town... programme of free events.

Cheltenham Literature Festival

Offering a feast for book lovers, Cheltenham Literature Festival returns from Friday 6 until Sunday 15 October 2023. Giving literature fans a chance to get books signed by their favourite authors, take in talks from some of the world’s biggest writers and enjoy a wide variety of entertainment, from children’s events to theatrical performances at the renowned Lit Crawl.

The line-up for the 2023 festival is yet to be announced, but previous festivals have seen the likes of Louis Theroux, Hillary Clinton, David Cameron, Bernardine Evaristo and Marian Keyes take to the stage – not to mention popular children’s authors like Jacqueline Wilson and Rob Biddulph.

Witcombe Festival

Bringing names such as Tinie Tempah and Annie Mac to Gloucester, Witcombe Festival will be returning from Friday 25 until Sunday 27 August 2023. The three-day festival will feature local ciders and live music, with previous years including huge headliners such as Rudimental, Sean Paul and Craig David.

Wychwood Music Festival

Wychwood Music Festival returns to Cheltenham Racecourse in 2023 from Friday 2 until Sunday 4 June 2023 – with Happy Mondays, Travis and Sam Ryder headlining, alongside a packed schedule of fun family entertainment.

Three Choirs Festival

Bringing world-class music back to the city of Gloucester from Saturday 22 to Saturday 29 July 2023, this year's Three Choirs Festival celebrates the 150th anniversary of the birth of Gloucestershire composer, Ralph Vaughan Williams.

The week-long festival showcases the talents of singers from Gloucester, Hereford and Worcester, along with three of the UK's most prestigious orchestras and a whole host of exceptional musicians and soloists in a musical spectacular.

2000trees Festival

Thrilling indie and rock fans for over 15 years, 2000trees Festival is making its much anticipated return to Upcote Farm near Cheltenham this summer. Taking place from Thursday 5 until Saturday 8 July 2023, festivalgoers will be treated to three days of fantastic performances from some of the best acts rock and indie music has to offer, with headliners including Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes, Deaf Havana, Loathe and Holding Absence. 

Forest Showcase Food Festival

A favourite with local foodies, the Forest Showcase Food Festival returns to the Speech House Hotel in Coleford on Sunday 8 October 2023, with over 100 local and artisan producers showcasing everything from delicious food to real ale and local wine – with live music, chef demos, cooking classes and hands-on workshops, too.

Cheltenham Music Festival

Known as one of the most prestigious music festivals in the world, Cheltenham Music Festival is making its return to the town for eight marvelous days of music from across the classical spectrum. The festival will be taking place from Saturday 8 until Saturday 15 July 2023 and is expected to bring some of the best performances classical music has to offer.

Cheltenham Paint Festival

Cheltenham Paint Festival will go ahead this year, after being saved by incredible generosity. With dates yet to be confirmed for 2023, the unique festival produces spectacular permanent displays of colour and talent dotted all around the local area. With the exact details not yet released, visitors can expect approximately 60 different spots where street artists’s work will be showcased. The artwork can be enjoyed by anybody, all year long and is completely free.

Cheltenham Science Festival

Cheltenham Science Festival returns from Tuesday 6 until Sunday 11 June 2023, where science lovers will get the chance to enjoy inspiring and entertaining events from some of the brightest minds in the world.

Exploring burning questions about everything from artificial intelligence to the climate crisis, the festival also boasts an abundance of hands-on and interactive experiments to get involved in, ideal for inquisitive youngsters.

Gloucester History Festival

Taking place on from Friday 21 to Sunday 23 April 2023 and celebrating over 2,000 years of Gloucester’s rich history, Gloucester History Festival boasts an abundance of activities from heritage open days, talks, workshops and even musical events.

Prescott Bike Festival

Known as the best bike festival in Gloucestershire, motorbike enthusiasts can look forward to return of Prescott Bike Festival on Sunday 25 June 2023 at Prescott Hill Climb.

Visitors can participate in a day of exhilarating events and huge displays of monster motorcycles, celebrating the best custom builds, shed builds, race bikes, factory bikes and one-off bikes – with a chance to meet special guests like former British professional motorcycle and truck racer Stavros, AKA Steve Parrish.

Barn on the Farm

Grab your flower crowns as Barn on the Farm returns to Gloucestershire in 2023. The award-winning festival takes place from Thursday 29 June until Sunday 2 July 2023 at Over Farm in Gloucester with this year’s line-up including the likes of Lizzy McAlpine, Bleachers, Holly Humberstone and many more. 

Nibley Music Festival

From silent discos to a drum and bass ice cream van, Nibley Music Festival is back from Friday 30 June until Saturday 1 July 2023, boasting a truckload of children’s entertainment, food stalls and quality music from the likes of Feeder and William the Conqueror.

20th Anniversary Festival at Daylesford Organic

To celebrate Daylesford Organic's 20th anniversary this June 2023, the queen of the organic food scene will be hosting a huge two-day festival to commemorate the occasion — packed with live music, hot air balloon rides, cooking demonstrations from top chefs, wellness sessions and more! 

Going from a working farm to an award-winning national brand, festivalgoers can celebrate Daylesford's special milestone on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 June 2023, with a line up of celebrity guests, delicious food and even full-size JCB dancing diggers! 

Cheltenham Pride 2023

Celebrating the first pride parade in Cheltenham in over a decade, the anticipated event will be splashing the town with colour and love to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community on Saturday 13 May 2023. 

As well as a parade through the town, stalls and activities taking place in Imperial Gardens, there will also be an unforgettable FREE after-party at one of Cheltenham's most popular venues, DEYA Brewery, with drag royalty and a live-screening of the Eurovision final.

Fantasy Forest Festival

Returning for a magical weekend of live music and entertainment this summer, Fantasy Forest Festival fills the grounds of Sudeley Castle with fairies, fire performers, costumed characters and magic from Friday 14 to Sunday 16 July 2023. 

Festivalgoers can learn how to battle with a lightsaber; be enchanted by a 65-piece orchestra performing film soundtrack favourites; browse the largest fantasy market in the UK; and much more across the weekend. 

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